A third generation fiber artist, Althea Bilodeau finds expression of her love of fashion in the form of traditional felt making and distinctive surface design. Each one-of-a-kind item is created from the finest quality wool, silk and exotic natural fibers. Hand dyeing her raw materials, she creates completely unique non-woven fabric using her own variation of the ancient wet felting technique. From classic outerwear, to dramatic scarves, shawls, and bags, each of Althea’s pieces is carefully designed and handcrafted in her Vermont home studio.
Althea is the sixth of seven children raised on a self-sufficient farm in Upstate New York. Her mother, Gloria Scannell, is a well-known spinner and weaver. Surrounded by the fresh fleeces from her mother’s champion fiber sheep and boiling dye pots filled with black walnut shells and onion skins, Althea’s natural draw to color and fabric was nurtured. A young student of sewing and weaving she pursued her interest in fashion through studies in costume design, construction, and modeling.
Fashion Week 2010, American Fashion Designer, Chris Benz, featured Althea’s hand-dyed silk charmeuse fabrics in three of his dresses in his Fall Collection. He introduced her felt on one of his silk blouses in Fall 2011, and then featured her work in his Resort 2012 collection with a jacket and coat made exclusively of Althea’s felt. The jacket was displayed on the Chris Benz rack at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Background and Training
- Studied textile/garment construction, and costume design at State University of New York at Albany.
- Student of many national and international feltmaking instructors since 2003.
Co-President of the Northeast Feltmakers Guild – 2011- present.
Festivals and Shows
May 25-26, 2013 – Vermont Crafts Council, Open Studio Weekend, North Chittenden, VT
October 19-20, 2013 – New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, Rhinebeck, NY